Did You Know Clinton County’s Earliest Residents Entertained Themselves with Corn-Husking and Quilting Bees?

 

If you are making weekend plans and feel like Clinton County has nothing to offer, imagine what it was like to live here in the pioneer days. According to the 1886 History of Clinton County, our ancestors “contrived to do something to break the monotony of their daily life and furnish them a good hearty laugh.” That sounds about right.

So, what was it? A night out at the movies? A comedy club? Karaoke, maybe?

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None of the above, of course. Instead, early Clinton Countians found their amusements in simpler activities like apple-paring, log-rolling, house-raising, corn-husking, or maybe a good old-fashioned quilting bee.

As a new seamstress myself, that last one interested me the most. Apparently, women from around the county would gather at an appointed place (without the help of Facebook to alert them), and together they would make quilts for their families. Of course this wasn’t just a hobby for pioneer women. Quilts were necessary to protect themselves from the harsh winters. But the quilting bees made the chore less tedious and more like a party. In fact, according to the History of Clinton County, in the evening after the quilts were laid aside, the gentlemen would come around to break out the games and music and join the ladies for a good old fashioned dance.

You may be hard-pressed to find an old-fashioned quilting bee this weekend, though you can find plenty of quilts displayed throughout the downtown area for the Bi-Annual Frankfort Quilt Walk. And members of the Frankfort Quilt Guild still get together regularly to quilt and sew together. In fact, they are having a Quilt Raffle at the Frankfort Community Public Library (FCPL). Tickets are available through November 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. when the quilt will be raffled.

And if you decide to do something else this weekend besides check out the Quilt Walk — like maybe break out the games and music — don’t worry: several quilts will remain on display in the FCPL Hubbard Gallery through September 29.

Originally published at Clinton County Daily News on September 17, 2016.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.